(Minghui.org) An 81-year-old Xinxiang City, Henan Province, man was recently sentenced to one year and eight months for practicing Falun Gong, a spiritual discipline that has been persecuted by the Chinese communist regime since 1999. Since Mr. Zheng Jiajin had previously been sentenced to 7.5 years in 2015 but had not served his sentence, he was ordered to serve a total of nine years and two months after the latest prison sentence.

Another practitioner, Ms. Zhu Fenglan, 66, was sentenced to 7.5 years. Both of them have appealed to the Xinxiang City Intermediate Court.

Both Mr. Zheng and Ms. Zhu were arrested on August 28, 2020, at a place that they rented to make informational materials about Falun Gong for distribution. Their computer, printer, and a large number of office supplies were confiscated.

The police interrogated the two practitioners at the Nanqiao Police Station and took the practitioners to the Xinxiang City Detention Center the next afternoon. Mr. Zheng was denied admission due to dangerously high blood pressure and was released in the evening. Ms. Zhu has been held there since.

After three hearings, on February 23, April 8 and May 8, 2021, the judge sentenced the two practitioners to prison. Both of them were also fined 10,000 yuan.

Since September 2020, the local social security office has suspended Mr. Zheng’s pension, using the funds withheld to pay back the funds he has received between his prior arrest in November 2014 and his latest arrest in August 2020. The authorities claimed that according to a new policy, no Falun Gong practitioners serving time for their faith are entitled to any retirement benefits, even though no Chinese labor law stipulates this. While Mr. Zheng was released on medical parole following his previous arrest in November 2014, the authorities said he still shouldn’t have received anything.

Mr. Zheng, a retired railway tunnel engineer, was previously arrested on November 3, 2014, when he visited another practitioner Ms. Lang Gaiqin. He came when the police were arresting Ms. Lang. Upon finding some Falun Gong materials in Mr. Zheng’s bag, the police also arrested him and ransacked his home.

The Weibin District Procuratorate approved his arrest on November 28, 2014, with the charge of “undermining law enforcement with a cult organization,” a standard pretext used to criminalize Falun Gong. The prosecutor later indicted him and moved his case to the Weibin District Court.

The judge held a secret hearing of Mr. Zheng on April 24, 2015, and sentenced him to 7.5 years on April 30.

Mr. Zheng appealed with the Xinxiang City Intermediate Court, which returned the case to the lower court in July 2015 and ordered a re-trial. The judge of the lower court still sentenced him to 7.5 years after the retrial.

Mr. Zheng was taken to the Zhengzhou Prison in late 2015 but was later released on medical parole.

For Ms. Lang, she was released six days after her arrest in 2014 due to a medical condition. She lived away from home to hide from the police, only to be arrested again on July 8, 2019, after she returned home. She was sentenced to seven years by the Huixian City Court and has been imprisoned at the Xinxiang Women’s Prison.

Chinese version available

Category: Accounts of Persecution